Sunday, October 19, 2008

Riding with the Regular Joes

In just two days I went from riding with the Pros to riding with the regular Joes. Ah, such is life. Yes, MY life! A life filled with a cast of colorful characters, never ending adventures, and loads of laughter. I am quite content to ride with the regular joes of this world. Besides, I am just a regular girl.

After Thursday's ride on the Pinhoti with Krista and the gang, I only had one day to recover in preparation for Saturday's rerun on the trail. A visit to Janusz on Friday helped get the kinks out of my back, and I was ready for more. Saturday morning was like a deja vu as we pulled into Mulberry Gap Campground, the same meeting point as my last ride.

The big difference this time was the temperature. Saturday greeted us with some cooler weather, and I was trying hard not to be testy. Anything below 70 degrees is TOO cold for me. That's when I get mean and downright cranky, whenever I am cold. The morning sky was crisp and clear, so I knew the sunshine would melt away my ill pill humor.

We were to meet some new faces today. Fred, a mtn biker from Toccoa, had come over to spend the weekend checking out the trails, and he had a group of fellow cyclists from their UC3 club along for the ride. We did not know Fred, but he was lurker on the Sorba forum and had asked Cyclesmith to be their tour guide. Not knowing if Fred was a psycho ax-murderer, Cyclesmith called us in as backups in case things got ugly and witnesses were needed for the investigation.

Turns out these guys were good as gold, and the only thing they were guilty of was spending more time in the hot tub than on the trail.

Introductions were made, arm warmers were donned, and the ride began. Today we turned right out of the camp on Conasaga Road in order to take Shakerag Rd back to Bear Creek for the climb up Pinhoti 1. The same pretty colors were there as they were 2 days ago. I was just glad we were not starting off with a 5 mile climb this time.

The air was brisk, but it was not bad at all. I can handle this, but not a degree colder, please.

Fred was giddy with excitement. He says they have great trails where he lives, but after a while you get tired of riding by yourself. Come ride with us! You're sure to have a Fantastic Time, satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back.

With 10 of us, and 7 of them, I had already forgotten names. Name tags should be mandatory anytime you meet new riders. It has taken me a year to learn the names of my best buddies I ride with every weekend that were with me now; Robin, Kevin, Robb, Marty, Joe, and Ony. And to confuse me further, Ony brought his brothers, Joel and Jan, that I've only ridden with a few times. It was pointless, and before the day was through I had renamed Craig to Keith, and could not remember anyone else correctly but Fred. They all ignored my dementia.

In addition to a constant stream of new bikes, Robb has another new toy to add to his bin; a Nikon DSLR. I recognize the symptoms, since I too suffer from them, and just smiled as he dashed off constantly to snag photos of us riding. Joe also had along his DSLR, and I felt as though a load had been lifted off my shoulders. Knowing these two would take over photoninja duties for the day was honestly a relief for me. It was fun for me to observe them all day.

Robb is young and full of energy, while Joe is a little more laid back;-) It is nice to see a ride from another point of view.

Even though we were taking the usual tried and true route starting up Bear Creek to P1, it's always great fun.

The sun began to warm things up a bit, but hopefully not enough to make the snakes come out and play. I couldn't help but look as we passed near where Krista saw Mr. Snake on Thursday, as if he'd be sitting there waiting for me. Silly girl.

Despite the fact these were not the Pros, the pace was just as brisk as Thursday's ride. Regular Joes and Freds, Experts, Pros, it doesn't really matter who you ride with because we all seem to push each other.

I was quite impressed with Chris and Craig as they were riding downhill bikes, and we were not on the downhill yet! Chris had a blast anytime we hit the descents and hollered like a kid in a candy shop.

I am used to Robb and his obsession with riding reclining sofas on our cross country rides. He has the energy to spare, and needs to spend it somewhere!

But for crying out loud, Craig was on a 34lb Giant Reign 6" travel bike with 2.5" tires and he was killing it on the climbs. Impressive indeed. Fred was right there with us as well on the climbs, and still riding strong even when we got to P3. I question whether or not these were regularjoes or were they really Pros?

The downhills were rewarding as always, and Raja and Craig were challenging us all as they charged full speed ahead. I was still feeling a bit confident on my downhills and tried to push it as much as I could without killing myself. Trying to stay on Raja's wheel is a dangerous endeavor for me, but when the right juices are flowing I will give it my best shot.

The Toccoa guys were grinning like school boys, especially after we completed the Pinhoti 2 run. If you can't have fun on that downhill, then you need to seriously reconsider another sport, and just go ahead and give me your bike.

We climbed all the way to the top of P3 and then bombed back down P3 to Conasaga Road. Of course we had to run into some other riders along the way. We got to see our friends, Larry and Gary. We knew Larry was out here, since he had talked to us the night before and was hoping to hook up with us. After saying our hellos, we later ran into Scubacruz and Lori who were also out enjoying the Fall foliage.

26 miles, 3700' climbing, and 3 hrs later, the hot tub was calling. No one took me up on my offer to climb back up Pinhoti 2, and we headed back to Mulberry Gap. Chris had managed to bend his derailleur earlier in the ride, but somehow salvaged it to the last second. Literally, as we topped out at the last rise of the road before the descent to the camp, his hanger went - POP! Wow, timing is everything!

While some had their beer in the hot tub, others had PBJ's and beer by the fire. Mulberry Gap has it going on with a great setting with which to end a ride. The guys were going to get a nice dinner at 6:00, but we had to head back to civilization. It was fun to hang around the campfire and chat with our new friends.

As we were driving home, Psychobilly, Aimee, Eddie, Namrita, and a few others were driving up to spend the night at Mulberry. I bet they had a great ride today up there. Ooooo, I'm jealous.

But we had a great time Saturday! It was a treat to meet you guys; Fred, Craig, Keith, Danny, Chris, John, and Brad. I hope we get to all ride again soon. For "regular guys", ya'll are way cool!

Today was even colder than yesterday, so I did not spend much time on the bike. Raja is not the least bit affected with cold temps, so he rode at Blankets in the 52 degree morning air while I stayed in the warmth. He rode early because he had something important to do today.

If we did not spend our Life on a Bike, it would be Life in the Air. This is Raja's other fascination. It is pretty darn cool. That would be the dream.

I'm glad we live Life on a Bike though. I can't imagine trying to chase the guys around in an F18!!!


regularjoe said...

So that is what all those guys names were...

The only one I could remember was Fred and I think that was only because his name was on his bike.

Fun day!

James Bigler said...

Saw this and thought of you guys